Workshop 2: 10 and 11 October 2015 at the University of Glasgow
Our selection of songs was shared with all our performers prior to this weekend workshop and we had suggested possible singers and instrumental combinations as a starting point for each of the songs.
Over two days at the University of Glasgow our performers came together to explore and experiment with performances of the songs, imagining how the first buyers of these collections might have tackled the songs at home. Ruth Slater and Dr John Kitchen worked with the instrumentalists and Kirsteen helped coach the singers. The performers shared their responses with us as the workshops developed. Several issues arose during this weekend. We had a lot of challenges with the change of pitch. Period instruments play at a lower pitch than modern instruments and all musicians had to adjust to this. There were also clear challenges to the singers in working with songs often in the Scots language:
Moreover, often only the first verse of these songs is ‘underlaid’ to the music, which allows the singer to follow exactly how the words match the melody:
But all subsequent verses are presented as text only (as you often see in church hymnals). This was really difficult for our singers. Our performers were not used to singing and playing together as if ‘at home’, and listening to one another to ensure tight ensemble playing was also tricky for them.
Listen to what our performers had to say about the challenges of the experience: